Step Up for Bone Health in Honor of World Osteoporosis Day
October 20 has been designated as World Osteoporosis Day, a time to bring awareness to osteoporosis and help people find out if they are at risk.
The World Osteoporosis Day website offers a number of resources to advocate and promote their new 2022 campaign: Step Up for Bone Health. Fellowship Square delves into the topic of osteoporosis, risk factors, and how to manage it.
First off, what is osteoporosis? According to the site, “osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and fragile so that they break easily — even as a result of a minor fall, a bump, a sneeze, or a sudden movement.”
One in three women and one in five men 50 years and older will suffer from an osteoporotic fracture, which can be life-threatening and a major cause of pain and long-term disability. But what causes it?
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are multiple factors. However, age is certainly one of them. Though bones in the body are in a constant state of renewal, as people age, bone mass is lost faster than it is created... so how much bone mass one attained in their youth will determine their risk of developing osteoporosis. “The higher your peak bone mass, the more bone you have "in the bank" and the less likely you are to develop osteoporosis as you age.”
There are some “unchangeable” risk factors including age, sex, family history, race, and body frame size, however, other factors include dietary, hormone levels, steroids, and other medications, medical conditions and lifestyle choices also play a role.
The latter, for example, can be improved upon by getting active (particularly practicing weight-bearing exercises that promote balance and good posture as well as walking, running, jumping, dancing, and weightlifting), reducing intake of alcohol, and quitting tobacco use.
Preventing osteoporosis comes down to good old-fashioned diet and exercise – “good nutrition and regular exercise are essential for keeping your bones healthy throughout your life,” according to Mayo Clinic. Women 50 and older and men 70 and older should increase their calcium intake to 1,200 milligrams daily. Calcium can be found in soy products like tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, canned salmon or sardines with bones, and low-fat dairy products.
Vitamin D is another vital nutrient as it helps the body absorb calcium and improves bone health in other ways. While sunlight is a source of vitamin D, it can also be found in many types of milk and fortified cereals, cod liver oil, trout, and salmon.
Adding exercise into a daily routine is an excellent way to increase bone strength and improve the body and mind in multiple ways. It’s important to check with a physician before changing one’s diet and exercise routine. The World Osteoporosis Day website also suggests getting tested and being proactive about early treatment if at risk for Osteoporosis. In honor of World Osteoporosis Day, Fellowship Square encourages seniors to protect their bone health!